IOWA CITY, Ia. — Kirk Ferentz is so focused on fixing what’s wrong with his Iowa football team that he doesn’t even know if he’s on Penn State’s Joe Paterno watch list.
Ferentz doesn’t appear to care if anyone has even contacted him or his agent.
“If they have, I have no knowledge of it,” Ferentz said after his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I think they’re probably busy doing other stuff right now.”
Penn State fired Paterno last week after one of his former assistants, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing boys.
The Washington Post reported that Nittany Lions representatives contacted Virginia coach Mike London about his interest in the position last week, a report London later disputed.
The New York Times reported this week that Penn State has started contacting potential replacements or representatives of potential replacements and mentioned Ferentz, a 13-season Iowa coach, among possible candidates.
When asked directly if he or his Ohio-based agent, Neil Cornrich, had been contacted by Penn State representatives, Ferentz broke out his good-natured personality:
“For what, president?” he wondered aloud. “Fixing the economy?
“That’s kind of basic — put money in the bank. Spend what you have. Don’t borrow.”
When asked what he would say if contacted, Ferentz used his stock response: “I have a great job. I feel fortunate to be here.”
Iowa finishes the Big Ten Conference season on the road — at 11 a.m. Saturday at Purdue, and then at Nebraska on Nov. 25.
The Hawkeyes have records of 3-3 in the Big Ten Conference and 6-4 overall after Michigan State beat them 37-21 last Saturday. That’s why Ferentz preferred to talk about Saturday’s trip to a place where Iowa has won just once in the past 20 years.
“I’m more focused on the game,” he said.
Ferentz earns $3.8 million a year. There is no clause that says he owes the university money if he leaves before his contract expires on Jan. 31, 2020.
“This year, they’ve had some great home wins already with Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota on their ledger,” Ferentz said, again emphasizing where his mind is, “and we’re going on the road.
“We haven’t done well there certainly, so that’s one more challenge.”
That’s why he’s focused on Saturday, and not on whether Penn State is interested — a mindset shared by his boss.
“Kirk’s focus right know, and mine as well, is on this week’s game against Purdue,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta wrote in an email to The Des Moines Register. “I haven’t had conversations with him, or anyone else, about other job openings.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football